Scarsdale10583 Celebrates Five Years: The Highs and the Lows
- The Goods
- Published on Thursday, 19 December 2013 10:51
- Joanne Wallenstein
When Scarsdale10583 began publication in December 2008 we were not sure if it would last a year. We struggled for admittance to meetings, notification of community events and even copies of official reports. Now five years later, as we begin our sixth year in business, the tables have turned. We are courted at meetings, receive too many notices to post and are sometimes overwhelmed by the level of community activity in our inbox. Residents want to know when their news will appear on the site and why it was not displayed prominently enough. We can confidently say that Scarsdale10583 has grown to be a recognized community resource and thank all of you for making it happen.
What have been some of the most talked about stories and memorable moments? There are so many to recount:
One of my favorites in our initial year was an invitation to photograph the newborn twins of a Greenacres mom who had just delivered the babies in a car on Fifth Avenue in front of Mt. Sinai Hospital. What a joy to meet these infants just days after they were born. ... and to think that they are now four and half years old!
Then there was the rumor about Beyonce. Was she moving to Heathcote Road with Jay-Z and newborn Baby Blue Ivy Carter? We had visions of a homecoming concert on the SHS field, and a star sighting at Balducci's. Unfortunately this was not to be. The closest we got to the superstar was a spoof on Saturday Night Live, featuring Maya Rudolph in a hilarious rendition of the family in a mansion in Murray Hill.
Another more controversial story involved guns. Following the Newtown shooting we wrote an opinion piece on the site asking whether you knew if your neighbors had guns in their homes and if you would let your children play at homes where guns were present. The article was posted on December 18, 2012 and just a few days after our piece appeared the Journal News published an interactive map showing the names and addresses of all registered gun owners in Westchester and Rockland Counties. We don't know if they got the idea to request the information from Scarsdale10583, as they give no credit to the site – however, whether by coincidence or happenstance the information was now available to the general public. That caused an uproar and led to an invitation to appear on Huffington Post Live where I found myself face to face with NY State Senator and gun ownership advocate Greg Ball. That was tense.
And who can forget the Bat Mitzvah bus chaperone gone berserk? Last May we received a recording of an abusive uncle who was charged with accompanying the pre-teens on a bus to a Bar Mitzvah party. After one of the passengers threw an M&M, the chaperone unleashed a spate of expletives and threatened the frightened kids with "death." The recording was so shocking that it brought Fox 5 news to my door.
Stories involving animals have also been winners on the site. A bobcat in a Greenacres yard, a wild turkey blocking traffic on Palmer Avenue, coyotes on Fenway Golf Course --- and the ever present geese who fouled the Scarsdale Pool in September, causing it to close after a flock "laid waste" to the waters.
Readers are keen on real estate updates: old homes, new homes, demolitions and sub-divisions drive page views as well as the latest home sales. One of our earliest stories concerned the legendary home of toy king Louis Marx, a red brick pillared mansion with 9 fireplaces and 14 baths. Residents who remembered his legendary Christmas parties where neighborhood kids lined up to received free presents were dismayed to see the dilapidated mansion cleared for demolition. An iconic house on the Duck Pond in Heathcote met a similar fate – but not without considerable discussion. With Scarsdale poised to enact our first tax revaluation in 49 years, talk of homes and taxes is a Scarsdale10583 staple.
Hurricane Sandy brought a serious traffic surge to the site, when frustrated residents found themselves without heat and light, some for almost two weeks. The site provided daily updates on the restoration, an examination of why Scarsdale was one of the last on the list for repairs and a good place to vent for users in the dark.
Coverage of school budget discussions that resulted in the first defeat of the Scarsdale School budget in 43 years were especially controversial. Rancorous comments from residents and teachers were sometimes too pointed to post and tested the limits of civil discourse. Unfortunately the bitterness continues today with anonymous commenters making personal attacks that give us cause for pause.
On a more serious note, the past five years have been marked by tragic losses .... a spate of suicides in the fall of 2010, the disappearance of Edgemont's Lauren Spierer at Indiana University and more recently the death of a Brooklyn man who threw himself in front of a speeding train at the Hartsdale Station.
Looking toward the next five years we hope to continue to hear from you. Send us your family news; engagements, marriages, births and obituaries would be great additions to the site. Contribute your stories and your opinions. If you notice something funny or interesting, visit a new restaurant or see a pleasing landscape, let us know and we'll share it with your neighbors. And do continue to comment – but please – include your name, make your comments constructive and refrain from bitterness, nastiness and personal attacks.
Let's make the next five years as lively as the past five. Thank you for your participation and support and here's to a happy, healthy 2014.
Joanne Wallenstein for Scarsdale10583.com